The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Full armour
  • Full armour
  • Anton Peffenhauser (c. 1525 - 1603) , Armourer
  • Augsburg, Germany
  • c. 1580
  • Steel and copper alloy, pierced and engraved
  • Weight: 24.721 kg, total weight
  • Maker's mark: Triskeles
    Stamp: Augsburg guild mark
    Mark: Three dots Punched
    Stamp: Pearled 'A'
    Stamp: Two dots
    Mark: Three crescents
    Mark: Four dots Punched
    Mark: Row of dots Punched
    Mark: Six dots Punched
  • A44
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • A distinctive form of the traditional ‘mêlée’ tournament, called the ‘free tourney’ (Freiturnier) was characteristic of courtly spectacles held in the German lands. German tournament garnitures dating from the 16th century therefore usually include pieces for this form of knightly contest. Free tourneys are also documented in the Low Countries and England. The idea was to reconstruct the archetypal medieval battle as described in the chivalric romances- affairs fought exclusively by knights on horseback, rich in opportunities for heroic derring-do which at the same time were stripped of unpleasant modern inconveniences such as pike-wielding, gun-toting infantry. In the free tourney two teams of around ten or more mounted men-at-arms first charged each other in an encounter with lances, before drawing swords and setting to, for as long as the judges and ladies deemed appropriate. Special reinforcing pieces were worn in the free tourney, but they were usually designed to be subtle and unobtrusive, so as not to depart too far from the appearance of men armed for war. Above all the free tourney was a profound test of a knight’s riding ability, close-combat with the sword requiring very intense and sometimes violent manoeuvres at the canter and gallop. Leg armour for the free tourney in the second half of the sixteenth century therefore was cut away around the inner surfaces of the legs, allowing closer contact with the horse’s sides and thus guaranteeing the best possible communication between horse and rider. Since the fighting conditions were prescribed and limited to mounted combat, protection for the legs could be reduced for reasons of comfort in a way that was inappropriate for heavy cavalry operations on the battlefield.

    Although this armour is a composite, like all six of the other Peffenhauser workshop armours in the collection, in its overall appearance it most closely resembles a garniture configured for the free tourney, including for example the greaves cut away at the insides of the lower legs, and a strongly built helmet with reinforcement on the left side, against lance impacts, but which is not nearly as extensive as that worn in the joust. This armour also carries a full range of the different types of marks employed at the time- it carries Anton Peffenhauser's triple-legged triskeles mark, alongside the fir-cone mark of the city of Augsburg. Several parts of the armour carry the 'pearled A' mark on their interior surfaces, almost certainly an Augsburg quality mark. The various pieces also carry different serial marks, comprised of punched dots and/or crescents, showing that originally the differently marked pieces belonged to different armours all made as part of one series made at the same time.

    This armour also retains many of its original internal articulation leathers, an extreme rarity on surviving armour.